Behold! Tonight's the Portland Mayoral & City Council Candidates Arts Forum, put on by a handful of local arts organizations and moderated by Portland Monthly Editor-in-Chief Randy Gragg. Mayoral candidates Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith team up with Portland City Council candidates Amanda Fritz, Mary Nolan and Steve Novick for a "lively conversation about the arts in Portland". I will attempt to live blog the event that kicks off at 7 pm.

6:47- The Armory is chock full of fancy Portland politicos and art-icos doors clutching ridiculously overpriced drinks. The stage doors have opened!

6:55- Cameron, the Occupy Portlander running for mayor is here, megaphone in tow.

7:10- Turns of Jefferson Smith and Mary Nolan won't be in attendance tonight, due to the lengthy legislative session in Salem. Change of plans! Additional City Council candidates have filled in. Not sure their names — yet.

7:19- The City Council candidates have taken the stage and given their opening statements. Amanda Fritz, Steve Novick and Brian Parrott (running against Novick).

7:22- Top priorities for Portland Arts... Novick: "Portland should have a rock on/rock off rock band competition," Fritz: "Arts needs to be in the mayor's portfolio, not mine," Parrott: "Inspiration for the young artists would be goal I'm putting forward. Let's have a sister city relationship with Brooklyn, New York!"

7:29- Will you support the November initiative to support arts in schools? Fritz: "I will work with all arts organizations to see what can pass, we have to be careful what to ask of the voters in these tough times," Novick: "I do worry, do we fund our school with little bits and pieces, no matter how important, or do we solve the who problem?" Parrott:" I would not be in support of tax dollars going towards arts in schools."


7:35- Pop quiz: No candidates know who James Lavadour is. Womp womp.

7:36- What role do you see the arts playing in the future of Washington High School? Novick: "I don't want to make something up on the spot, so I'll pass," Fritz: "It depends what we can get funding for, I trust the community process to see what the community wants," Parrott: "I'm with Steve."

7:40- Why should we vote for you? Fritz: "Theater and arts help us feel our soul and given us an opportunity to escape during hard times," Novick: "I would like to think that although I don't have a creative bone in my bone, but there's certain things I have a passion for. I have a passion for education funding and for equity and for letting people know where their taxes go." Parrott: "I think that art is inspiration. My feeling and drive will be inspiring the city in many ways. One way is going after the Olympics in 2022." (Is that art?)

7:45- Opening remarks by mayoral candidates (Hales and Brady, no Smith).

7:50- If you're faced with additional cuts to the city's general fund, would you decrease, hold steady, or increase arts funding? Hales: "Art is an investment for city government, not an expense," Brady: "Art becomes a basic right, we have to pursue that. I would take a strong leadership role in making certain tat we continue to build Portland as a cultural center."

7:55- What would your response be to someone complaining about expensive, public, modern art? Hales: "I would support pushing the edge here, we don't always have to be in the middle of the road," Brady: "There is public artwork that's part of New Season store and that's really important to me."

If it's on the ballot, will you support the CAN measure? Brady: "Yes, and I'd also love to help reduce the debt in large art organizations in Portland," Hales "Yes, definitely."

8:02- What music do you listen to when you really want to be inspired? Hales: Carmina Burana Brady: Greg Brown

8:04- Should RACC be held to the same rules as other organizations for minority contracting? Hales: "We must reach out to all communities when it comes to the arts. But do we just start with a number? I think that would be too crude." Brady: "Yes, we must become a city that is absolutely sustainable when it comes to equity."

8:08- How will you inspire and help art investors ? Brady: "I think that there re a lot of people in this community who want to leave a legacy in the arts. We're going to take this to the next level." Hales: "We shouldn't give up on Oregon Cultural Trust. We should also remember that art is a community opportunity, not just a philanthropic one."

8:11- What's a brick and mortar project this city really needs? Brady: "Paying off the debt that our largest cultural buildings have. We want to have these organizations to be stable." Hales: Take the old hulk of Washington HS and turn it into an incubator and performance space for young artists and entrepreneurs."

Hales gets to ask Brady about the arts: "What's an arts program in Portland that you have personally invested in?" Brady: "My children's education."

And vice-versa... Brady: "Favorite cultural city other than Portland?" Hales: "New York City, my daughter dances there!"

8:15- What makes Portland distinct artistically? Brady: "The young artists, especially at the TBA festival. I would love to take those young creatives to the next level." Hales: "The diversity of our arts scene."

End scene.